The quote of the week comes from Ed Brayton, who discusses a recent finding of the beginnings to neuronal architecture in sea sponge genes, in Exaption vs Front-Loading: Why Evolution Wins:
There are only two ways out of this for ID advocates: either they have to accept that those front-loaded genes had different functions in earlier species (which effectively makes front loading synonymous with exaptation, rendering the idea meaningless) or they have to posit that God not only loaded the genes for all those later developments in to earlier organisms that didn’t need them, but he also put some sort of mystical force field around them to prevent them from mutating over the last 4 billion years.
And now, on to the weekly cell and molecular biology metablogging:
The Daily Transcript:
Yes, It is True, You Can Now Make Your Own Stem Cells
Evolution of PEX Genes
Illumina-ting DNA-protein Interactions
Small Things Considered:
Planctomycetes: The Far Out Bugs
Sponges Have Synapses?
Sea Sponges Have the Makings of a Nervous System
Lastly, some ScienceDaily picks for the week:
Scientists at the University of California, Santa Barbara, have discovered significant clues to the evolutionary origins of the nervous system by studying the genome of a sea sponge, a member of a group considered to be among the most ancient of all animals.
Researchers have identified a family of micro RNAs that enable a known tumor suppressor network to fight cancer growth. Expression of most miRNAs is reduced in tumors, suggesting that some miRNAs act to prevent tumor formation.
Researchers at the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Medicine at UCLA were able to take normal tissue cells and reprogram them into cells with the same unlimited properties as embryonic stem cells, the cells that are able to give rise to every cell type found in the body.